A Tourist in Rome - San Ignazio

Location:Three blocks east of the front of the Pantheon
Metro:None, maybe Spagna. An alternate is to take Bus 40 or 64 (get off at Piazza Venezia, then walk north from there).
Time:about 30 minutes
Cost:Free
Hours:Monday - Saturday 7:30 AM - 7 PM. Sunday 9 AM - 7 PM

The "Church of San Ignazio of Loyola at Campus Martius" is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. The interior is in the baroque style, and has spectacular 3D paintings on the ceiling which will fool your eye with their optical illusions, making it well worth a brief stop, especially since it's so close to the Pantheon, which you're already going to see. The church was begun in 1626, opened to the public in 1650, and completed in the late 1600s.

    
Front facade of the church of San Ignazio
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The interior of San Ignazio
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My 1st photo below is woefully inadequate, but the ceiling fresco is a masterwork of 3D painting. The ceiling is flat, but it looks like the columns of the church lead up to a barrel-shaped ceiling with this painting of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, spreading the word of God throughout the world. The painter, Andrea Pozzo, explained his work as "Jesus illuminates the heart of St. Ignatius with a ray of light, which is then transmitted by the Saint to the furthermost corners of the four quarters of the earth, which I have represented with their symbols in the four sections of the vault". America is depicted as a topless Native American woman spearing naked men. Africa is represented by a black queen of Ethiopia riding a crocodile with an elephant tusk in her hand, and with an angel by her side defeating a giant. Europe is represented by a woman on a horse, riding upon a mass of heretics. Asia is represented by a woman on a camel, pushing two giants downward. Pozzo explains that the symbolic characters "are in the act of casting out the deformed monsters of idolatry or heresy or other vices". Toward the altar of this fresco, is an archway painted on the ceiling dividing the fresco from a dome. The archway extends up from pillars in the walls making it appear like an actual archway. But actually the ceiling is flat. And that dome (2nd photo below) in front of the archway looks completely real from yellow disc in the floor near the last row of pews, but as you walk toward the altar, you finally see that this is all an illusion since the painted dome doesn't change perspective as you walk under it.

    
The painted fresco ceiling in San Ignazio
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The painted dome of San Ignazio
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Other artwork in the church is shown below

    
Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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Artwork in San Ignazio
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See also:
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